For most of us, buying a home will be the largest purchase we make in our lives. And it’s not an easy purchase to make here on the Peninsula. The mature communities on the Peninsula have limited open space for new development, so the housing market is overwhelmingly dominated by resale homes. You rarely have the chance to find an exact match with your dreams.
Couple that with another round of high-tech hiring in Silicon Valley, and many people discover that it is almost impossible to find a home that they like and can afford at the same time. The influx of people to the Bay Area stresses out the housing supply and drives prices up, both in the rental and purchase markets.
When you find a property on the market that you want to make your home, it is critically important to understand how your purchase offer can get a competitive advantage over the others without throwing money into the fire. Here are some tips that will make your home buying experience more successful:
- Understand the market. While real estate news articles cite a wide array of statistical data, very few sources can follow the intricacies of the particular cities or neighborhoods you are buying in. The listing price is a marketing tool that gets your eyes on the property. Work with a real estate professional who can help you figure out what the property will realistically sell for.
- Investigate the property prior to making an offer. It is customary in our area for the seller to get a property inspection and a termite inspection done prior to putting a house on the market. Get the disclosure packet and review it with your agent before writing an offer. A set of reports from a reputable source may give you enough confidence to shorten the investigation period or forgo the property condition contingency altogether, strengthening your offer.
- Get preapproved for a loan by a reputable lender and provide all available documentation to the seller to show that you are qualified financially to complete the transaction.
- Pick a lender with the shortest possible time to close. You will be able to refinance, in most cases, 6 months after completing the purchase to improve your interest rate but a 60-day closing may get your purchase offer rejected.
- Make your offer easy to accept. Even though you know that the home you are buying may require some fixes, don't demand repairs. Make an offer for a price you are comfortable getting the house for in its present condition or ask for credit toward the repairs.
These tips will help you get an edge over other potential buyers, but each home sale is different. Work with your agent to understand what is most important for the seller and how to strengthen your offer. Get it right and you will be moving into your new home in no time!
Michael Talis is co-owner of Talis Real Estate